Returning to wholeness

Women Returning to Wholeness

dieting

When you’re stressed or anxious your body releases a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol makes you crave sugary and high calorie foods like chocolate, ice cream, donuts or pizza, just to name a few.

When you eat these foods your body responds by producing a hormone called serotonin.

Serotonin can be considered a “happy” hormone, as it greatly influences an overall sense of well-being.

Essentially wanting to eat certain foods is your body’s way to stop producing stress hormones and start producing pleasure hormones.

Here are 3 stress management and wellness tips to stop stress eating

1)  Take a deep breath

and another one and another one. Often when you’re stressed your breathing is very shallow and your body contracts. Neither one of these things feel good. By focusing on taking deep breaths right into your belly, you bring oxygen into your system and your body automatically relaxes. You can increase the calming effect by soothing yourself with a reassuring phrase like “It’s going to be ok.”, “I can do this.”, “I am safe.”.

2) Laugh

Laughing is often the best anxiety and stress help. Being able to laugh at yourself can heal you of any emotions that you are going through.

And remember the stress hormone cortisol? Well, laughter releases certain cells that suppress cortisol…. so no wonder it feels good and is good for you. Start an emergency laughter kit. Watch funny movies. Read funny stories.

3) Get your body moving

Take a brisk walk, do some stretching, play some music and do a jig. Exercise helps lower cortisol and other stress hormones in your body. The key is to do something you enjoy. So tune into your body and let it tell you how it would like to move.

Learning how to cope with stress differently and tapping into other resources will help you stop emotional eating. If you have come to a place in your life where you need to lose weight because you have diabetes or other health concerns and you need anxiety and stress help, or if you’re simply tired of yo-yo dieting this Coaching Program can help you.

 

Do you make negative associations with Anger? You’re not alone. Few of us had “healthy anger” role models. For many, expressing anger or being at the receiving end of anger brings up a whole range of uncomfortable emotions.

If you’re a woman, you might struggle even more, because you may have been taught to internalize your anger.

When anger has you heading to the cupboards, you can easily end up overeating while trying to express or rather repress what you’re feeling.

Did you know that suppressed negative emotions have been linked to causing serious illness like cancer?

Scientific research shows that negative emotions can affect the pH level of your body. Feelings like anger, revenge or hate create metabolic acids. When you suppress these emotions, over time, you increase your potential of high acid levels that can impact the potential for cancerous growth in your body.

So let’s step away from hurting yourself and look at some ideas for expressing your anger rather than stuffing it down.

  •   Vent on paper – do “the angry opera”

Use your journal or perhaps you have a file on your computer… and tell it like it is. Don’t  hold back. You don’t have to worry about anybody hurting you back, or about stepping on someone’s toes.

Express how you feel and how angry you are and get it out of your system. You could even write a letter (that you may choose to send or not) to the person who hurt you or who you are angry with.

Often getting it all out without holding back can give way to calmer feelings.

Because in my counselling practice, I  use an integrated mind – body approach I always encourage you to also release that pent up energy in some physical way.

Writing gives shape to your thoughts of hurt and anger.

But what about your clenched jaw, your tight throat, the knot in your stomach and the tension in your body?

Ideally you would have a safe space where you could shout or holler, make faces to stretch your jaw. Jump up and down, stomp your feet, do an “anger dance” or pound a pillow. Your car (not moving in traffic or with passengers) can be a great place to give vocal expression to your anger.

And always… don’t forget to breathe. Belly breaths activate the para-sympathetic nervous system and will calm you down.

  • The Serenity Prayer

Do you know the serenity prayer? It starts like this

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”

When you’re angry or frustrated about something, it helps to have some sense of control. Take a look at what’s going on for you and decide if there’s anything you can do to improve the situation.

Sometimes there is and sometimes all you can do is learn from what happened so it doesn’t happen again.Consider that by eating you are stepping into the passive role of the victim. By taking assessment of what you can do, you also take some of your power back.

  •  Be assertive

Do you eat when others talk down to you, criticize you or take advantage of your good nature?

Don’t forget that you have a right to your own views, emotions, values and opinions. You have the right to say NO. And you have a right to feel good about yourself.

Get into the habit of sticking up for yourself. Someone picks on you – tell them to stop it. Set boundaries. By being assertive, you may find that some people will back down. Nobody has the right to treat you badly.

If you’re not used to asserting yourself, you might consider taking an assertiveness training class.

If anger has caused trauma in your life and is impacting how you respond and deal with this emotion today, solution focused counselling can help you.

 

Emotional eating can have different triggers. During one of the last calls of the Stop Emotional Eating Coaching Program   one of the participants shared that she noticed a lot of her emotional eating happened when she felt bored.

Here are 3 tips to shift out of boredom and stay away from the cupboards:

Many years ago, when I was training in Dance Movement Therapy and Ritual Theater, at some point during the exercises I would find myself overwhelmed with feelings. At the time, that felt scary and “not good enough” and a typical reaction was to tell myself that I had to “get a grip.”

How often do you tell someone in your life…yourself perhaps… to get a grip?  To get it together?

Other versions of this are “What’s the matter with you?”

Because really and truly, what is the matter with you? Why are you unhappy or depressed or feeling anxious? Why are you unsatisfied with your life? You have no reason. You have a good life, a good partner, a job and a roof over your head. Think about all the people on this planet who are so much worse off than you are.

It doesn’t make sense!!

If this type of inner dialogue sounds familiar, then you also know that these kinds of thoughts and feelings are very unsettling. If like many, you manage uncomfortable or painful feelings thru emotional eating, you might find yourself standing in front of the fridge or cupboard looking for that special treat which will make you feel better.

But what if it did make sense? What if there was NO thing wrong with you?

What if you were able to stop, breathe and stop censuring yourself?

If you were to allow yourself to sit in authenticity, your feelings surfacing without judgment?

What would happen?

You could find a gateway to your true self. You would be able to still the longings that have somehow gotten on the “forbidden” list.

You would not have to go looking for food again and again until you decide to punish yourself with a diet.

Three things are needed for the process of “allowing it to make sense.”

You need to let go of shame and find your courage so you can cultivate self-compassion.

If you can embody who you already are rather than trying to be something you’re not, you’re on your way to uncovering compassion.

Be present with yourself and trust your knowing.
Accept the awareness of your feelings and allow them to be good enough, to be perfect just the way they are.

That is your first step towards letting go of shame and practicing self-compassion.

Initially, this place of authenticity can be scary and uncomfortable, because the old voices in your head telling you that your feelings don’t make sense and you should “get a grip” do not disappear quietly. However, a practice of mindfulness and loving kindness towards what defines you in this moment will allow you to linger more often and for longer periods of time in your place of truthfulness.

Remember, authenticity is not a quality, it is a collection of choices that you make every day and every moment. The more you can love yourself and who you are, the less you will need to turn to food to stuff down how you really feel.

 

This in turn will allow you to heal your relationship with food and your body and break free from the pursuit of weight loss thru yo-yo dieting.

I leave you with a quote from Oriah Mountain Dreamer:

“What if the question is not why I am so infrequently the person I really want to be, but why do I so infrequently want to be the person I really am?”
Warmly,

Ina

Eating Disorders Therapist North Vancouver, Counselling Burnaby